Archive for the ‘Comedy’ Category
Show Me The Funny and Doug Stanhope: two nights, two evenings of contrasting stand-up comedy – that’s if you count spending a couple of hours at a live TV show at the Hammersmith Apollo for fifteen minutes of performances a comedy night (the adverts allow a team of make-up artists to conduct a scientific experiment – “Can a turd be polished?” – on unlikeable judge Kate Copstick).
Essentially pitched as the X-Factor of live comedy, Show Me The Funny has seen ten comedians battle it out by performing in front of school children, medical staff and the military to make tonight’s final. Along the way we’ve lost semi-morose Droopy Dawg impersonator Alfie Moore, Ellie Taylor, whose combinations of good looks and just about being amusing is somehow a novelty rather than an anachronism, and
Cole Parker, whose unpredictability and vague sense of danger saw him jettisoned early in the process.
No such riches await Doug Stanhope, but with tickets for his month-long residency at the Leicester Square priced at £27.50 it seems unlikely that he’s going to be castaway to the poor house any time soon.
The team behind SMTF clearly don’t want Stevenson to win; she’s handed the opening slot which in this context is quite clearly the graveyard shift, she’s allocated the least interesting celebrity mentor and the judges look bored during the repeated highlight of her set which, bizarrely, was probably her worst moment.
Collectively, the three finalists were far more impressive during the series rather than the final. Stevenson is pleasant enough but cursed by a lack of compelling material and charisma, Mitchell’s willingness to be more daring seems compromised by the format and Monahan gets the best reaction by far, even if he’s over reliant on zest and charm. While Mitchell borders on the surreal, Stevenson and Monahan’s material is rather more hackneyed; sure it’s not cutting edge, but it’s a few levels above, “My mother in law’s so fooking fat…”
Doug Stanhope is as acerbic and abrasive as applying an industrial sandpaper machine to an especially intimate case of sunburn, with topics including conspiracy theories, the London riots, Amy Winehouse, celebrity death leagues and half-dead skinned wolves. Naturally.
SMTF 5, Stanhope 9
None of the SMTF competitors are overwhelmed by the size of the stage which is hardly surprising given that these unknowns are seasoned professionals. Stevenson is very nice indeed but almost entirely static, Mitchell has a booming comedy voice and is marginally more animated than Stevenson, while Monahan fights the urge to storm around like the second coming of Lee Evans.
Playing to a smaller audience of fanboys means that Stanhope has a far easier time. Ranting, downing shots and slurring his words isn’t the most professional style around, but that’s exactly what people expect and want from his show. There’s a definitely a sense that he’d be found doing exactly that if he was sat at home in front of the TV.
SMTF 6, Stanhope 7
Stevenson seems unlikely to become a comedy sensation, but a solid career of comedy bills and panel shows should easily be within reach. If Mitchell fulfills his potential he’ll probably be a little awkward for prime time TV, but he should be able to offer some oddball competition to his mentor Ross Noble. The winner on the night, Monahan is obviously best poised for long-term success and his cocktail of nervy energy and matey banter is a far stronger package for a major breakthrough.
Doug Stanhope’s chances of a Saturday evening BBC1 slot are hindered by his language, mannerism and topics of discussion. Maybe he’ll be back on fellow misanthropic Charlie Brooker’s next show.
SMTF 7, Stanhope 2
Being Doug Stanhope rather than a talent show contestant
As much as Stanhope seems to hate everything, being a great comedian on your own terms is clearly better than competing on a talent show.
SMTF 0, Stanhope 10
FINAL SCORE: SHOW ME THE FUNNY 18, DOUG STANHOPE 28